University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Student Union

Union: Distinguished Lecture Series

David SimonDavid Simon
Creator of The Wire

The Audacity of Despair: The Decline of the American Empire and What's in it for You...

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 at 7PM
UWM Student Union Wisconsin Room, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd

David Simon is a Baltimore-based journalist, author and television writer/producer, who is perhaps best known as the creator of the critically-acclaimed HBO television series The Wire (2002-2008), for which he served as executive producer and head writer for all 5 seasons. The Wire depicted a dystrophic American city contending with a fraudulent drug war, the loss of its industrial base, political and educational systems incapable of reform and a media culture oblivious to all of the above.

Simon will offer his perspective on race, class, culture and capitalism in contemporary America, and leave you wondering whether facing despair may be more productive than holding on to hope in the process of recognizing and solving the complex and interwoven problems of our society.

Simon spent 12 years covering crime for the Baltimore Sun (1983-1995) and wrote two works of narrative nonfiction: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (1991) and The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (1997). Homicide became the basis for the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-99) and The Corner was adapted into an HBO mini-series (2000) that won three Emmy Awards. Simon also co-created the HBO series Treme, about race, politics and music in post-Katrina New Orleans, which aired its fourth and final season in 2013.

Simon was selected as one of the 2010 MacArthur Fellows and named an Utne Reader visionary in 2011.He also writes for The New Yorker, Esquire and The Washington Post, among other publications.

Advance Tickets available at Union Info Desk or by calling (414) 229-4825 Tickets at the Door
Free for UWM Students Free for UWM Students
$8 -  Non-UWM Students $10 - Non-UWM Students
$10 - Campus Community $12 - Campus Community
$12 - General Public $14 - General Public

Advanced tickets available March 23rd.

For more information, contact Student Involvement: 414-229-5780 / or visit

Sponsored by UWM Student Involvement, Union Sociocultural Programming, the Urban Studies Program, the UWM Center for Economic Development, the Cultures and Communities Program, the ACLU Student Alliance and other campus partners.


Explore the issue with these related events, free and open to the public:

Treme: Exploring New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina On Film

Treme: Exploring New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina On Film

Tuesday, March 31st @ 7pm
Union Fireside Lounge

This program considers the realities and challenges of post-Katrina New Orleans with help from HBO's Treme, a series created and produced by David Simon (creator of The Wire) and set in the aftermath of the most catastrophic "natural" disaster to strike the United States in over a century. Join UWM scholars Monique Hassman (PhD candidate, Anthropology) and Lee Abbott (PhD candidate, English) as they host a open discussion and viewing of selected episodes and scenes from Treme. Exploring the problems of cultural transformation and embodied place-making in the context of austerity and neoliberalism, the conversation will raise questions about the efficacy and role of cultural activism, political protest, and cinematic representation during times of crisis and recovery.

“The House I Live In” Film Screening & Discussion

“The House I Live In” Film Screening & Discussion

Tuesday, April 7th @ 7pm
Union Fireside Lounge

For the past 40 years, the war on drugs has resulted in more than 45 million arrests, $1 trillion dollars in government spending, and America’s role as the world’s largest jailer. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available than ever. Filmed in more than twenty states, The House I Live In captures heart-wrenching stories of those on the front lines — from the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge — and offers a penetrating look at the profound human rights implications of America’s longest war. Featuring David Simon and Michelle Alexander. Discussion hosted by Dr. Robert S. Smith, Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion and Engagement.

Know Your Rights! with the ACLU

Know Your Rights! with the ACLU

Wednesday, April 1st @ 6pm
Union Wisconsin Room Lounge

Do you know your rights? How will you ensure just and fair treatment from law enforcement? Experts from the Wisconsin ACLU will discuss your rights and responsibilities during encounters with law enforcement. Learn about different types of police encounters, explore the role of police within communities of color, on and off campus, and learn how to document and fight police brutality. 

The Wire: A Journey Through the Dark Side of American Capitalism

The Wire: A Journey Through the Dark Side of American Capitalism

Tuesday, April 14th @ 7pm
Union Fireside Lounge

Professor Marc Levine explores David Simon’s critique of capitalism through five seasons of the critically-acclaimed HBO series The Wire.

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